Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day -5 and Treasures

Today is called ....Day -5

Today is 4 days from my next chemo treatment, and chemo day is called day zero.  Whenever you deal in "transplant" terms, all the days are numbered by what you will do that day.  Today I got my schedule for the rest of the month and I will be doing "medical"  things up until day +15 which will be Feb 4th or 5th.  So I'm going to try to blog what happens each day.  I have 2 reasons for doing this.
#1  So I can look back and see what I did when
#2 So someone else going through something like this will know what to expect.

I have read so many blogs of people going  through something very similar to what I'm going through.  It has helped me so much to be able to see how things went for them, and also to get advice from them. -5. 

My mom and I went to Huntsman at 8:30 this morning.  I first had a chest x-ray (easy), and then I had Labs (not easy).  I expected they would just use my port to draw all the labs.  But when I got back to start the draw, the RN told me 2 of the vials needed to be drawn from my arm (there were appx 20 vials total), and the rest could be drawn from my port.  So right there I knew...2 pokes.  After she drew from my port, she poked my arm and filled one vial and stopped.  So, that meant she had to try my other arm (3rd poke).   After labs we went to another room to wait for an EKG (super easy).  But while we waiting the nurse came in and said the lab needed to draw 2 more vials (4th poke)  REALLY??  I'm not really afraid of needles and being poked (I've had worse than that, trust me), but I hate when I start to feel like a pin cushion.   This was the end of day -6. 
  We then called my Grandparents to meet us at one of my fav spots downtown on 7th and 4th for lunch.

You have never had Utah fry sauce 'til you've had Hires fry sauce.  Right Utahns????
While we ate lunch my Grandpa handed us a big manila envelope.  They had been going through some old papers, and had some stuff for my mom.  What was inside was nothing short of absolute TREASURES.

It was full of letters my Great-Grandpa Bill had written to my Great-Grandma Mary while he was on his mission.   Here's why I think these are such treasures:

My brothers and I were very, very close to my Grandma Mary.  We spent a lot of time with her and my Grandpa Bill.  They had a tiny house in South Salt Lake off of 33rd South next to the Jordan River.  They had horses, a barn and lots of property.  They had a huge pear tree, a huge evergreen tree, and a tons of places to roam and explore.  I have wonderful memories of being at their house for holidays or just for regular days.  In the summer we would have bon fires in an old wheel barrow and roast marshmallows.  And in the winter we would make snow forts. 
  It was always so apparent to us the love and respect my grandparents had for one another.  My Grandpa Bill was a very intelligent man that knew the scriptures by heart.  He would sit in "his corner" of the living room in an old wing back chair, and pull the piano bench over as a make shift table and read scriptures and write for hours on end.  You could tell by the twinkle in his eye when he looked at my Grandma the love he had for her.  They were such a good example to us of what a loving marriage looked like.
   When I was a very young girl, my grandpa Bill had surgery.  During this surgery there were some complications, and it triggered Alzheimer's.  He progressed quite rapidly, and forgot a lot of the things / people he knew; although he always knew Mary.  Most of the years I knew him he was very forgetful.  All the time we spent at their house, he never really knew who we were.  He never remembered our names, and mostly just wanted to be left alone.
   Before this,  he was very active in church, and at one point served as the Bishop of his ward.  He knew lots and lots of people.  But when they would stop by, he would just sit in his chair and look away.  He could not remember them at all. 
  I remember people always talking about what amazing man my grandpa Bill was, and what a great memory he had.  He was an eloquent speaker, and was asked to guest speak several times at fire sides and conferences.  But I never knew him this way. 
  It was about 10 years after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's before he passed away.  Mary took care of him lovingly the entire time., when I opened the first letter, I started to laugh because it turns out..he had a very  funny sense of humor as well.  He was so in love with Mary, and pleaded for her to wait for him while he served his mission.  The few letters I've read show quite a different man than I remember my Grandpa to be, but they are exactly the man I knew he was. 
   In one letter he says to Mary:

"Mary, I don't mind if you go on dates and have fun.  I want you to enjoy yourself.  I just don't want to get a letter like Elder McGee got from his girlfriend that read
'Not to hurt your feelings, but next time you write me please address me as  MRS. '
So please have fun Mary, but don't send me a letter like that".    :)

So funny.  I'm sure you know what I'll be doing the rest of the day!  I can't wait to curl up on the couch with my stack of treasures and get to know my real "Grandpa Bill". 


  1. Oh Jen,this line you wrote speaks volumes! (... show quite a different man than I remember my Grandpa to be, but they are exactly the man I knew he was.) As our parents and grandparents age we forget the way they were in their prime and sometimes judge too harshly even though we should know better. Then it also made me think of wayward children who have come back, all grown up and responsible with a testimony of the gospel, just as we knew Heavenly Father intended for this child to be.
    Thanks for putting into words so eloquently something I have felt for so long, making hope and faith tangible!!!

  2. I just found your blog via MMB. I wanted to give you a cheer and let you know I'm rooting for you.

    Margot (six year cancer survivor)